Description of the role of the Parish Council.
Parish Council

Bishopstone Parish Council is made up of seven councillors, elected from the village community, and a Parish Clerk. See "Contact Details" for telephone numbers and the Clerk's e-mail address.

Parish Council meetings are held on the second Thursday of every other month in Bishopstone Village Hall starting at 7.00pm. 

 Residents of the village are encouraged to come along and have their say on local matters that affect them. Details of forthcoming meetings are set out under "Dates of Meetings".

Parish Councils have a wide range of powers, although most of these are discretionary in that the Council may do rather than must do. The law demands that Wiltshire Council must consult Parish Councils on certain matters affecting the parish. More details of what the Parish Council does, and how it operates are set out under "How it Works".

Also included on this web site are "Latest News" items - which will include the agenda for forthcoming meetings and details of any other current matters concerning the council - and "Minutes of Meetings" - the full minutes of meetings from January 2010. Anyone who wants to consult the minutes of earlier meetings should contact the Clerk.



  • Working with other relevant authorities to deal with issues that affect residents of the parish such as highways maintenance, speed limits, pollution, bus services, flooding and anti-social behaviour.
  • Representing the parish on bodies such as Wiltshire Council's South West Area Board.
  • Commenting on Town and Country Planning Applications. Planning applications are decided by Wiltshire Council in accordance with the relevant policies in the development plan for the county.  However, account has also to be taken of the views of the Parish Council and any representations received from the neighbours.  
  • Monitoring and arranging maintenance of Rights of Way.
  • Working with the Wiltshire Council Parish Steward.  Once per month our Parish Steward visits Bishopstone to carry out tasks requested by the Parish Council.
  • Contributing to the forward planning process of Wiltshire Council. Central government increasingly sets out the general path that it wants local government to follow. It results in a process generating discussion documents, consultation exercises and drafts that the Parish Council is invited to comment upon or contribute to.
  • Managing the Recreation Ground and the Children's Play Area.
  • Managing the allotments in The Styles.

The bi-monthly Parish Council Meeting drives the actions required. It is the forum where the Council can determine its policies and implement them. Minutes of meetings (records of discussions and decisions made) are kept by the Parish Clerk. The approved minutes are posted on the web site. 

A general report on Parish Council meetings is published in STAB, the parish magazine and the full minutes of meetings are available on this website.

Structure of the Council

Bishopstone Parish Council is made up of seven councillors elected from the village community.
 Elections coincide with those of Wiltshire Council. The next will be in 2017 and every four years after that.

If there are not enough candidates to fill the seven seats or when the electorate does not call for an election after a seat has fallen vacant then the Council co-opts a member from a list of volunteers.

Members elect a Chairman who by convention, serves for two years when he or she is succeeded by the Vice-Chairman. 

Other members take on specific responsibilities for different areas of council work. 

Parish Council meetings are held on the first Thursday of every other month in Bishopstone Village Hall starting at 7.30pm. 

  Members of the public are very welcome to attend meetings of the Parish Council and listen to discussions. A time is given over for parishioners to ask questions of Council members although they are not able to participate in discussions or decision making. Exceptionally the Chairman may ask that a meeting or part of a meeting takes place in private, although in practice this is rare.

Councillors are unpaid. Their behaviour is controlled by a Declaration of Interests that must be signed and by a Code of Conduct.

The Parish Clerk

The Parish Clerk draws up the agenda for meetings, keeps the minutes and handles correspondence under the direction of the Chairman. Additionally the Clerk must be up-to-date on codes and legislation affecting the behaviour of the Council and Councillors. In this capacity the Clerk is expected to advise the Council on procedure and to take the lead in implementing the decisions of the council.

The Responsible Finance Officer

Parish Council accounts are managed by The Responsible Finance Officer who, in a small parish such as Bishopstone, is usually the Parish Clerk or a Councillor taking on the financial role. He/she manages the Council's bank accounts, produces the reconciliation of income and expenditure and reports to the Council on financial affairs.

Of considerable importance for the Responsible Finance Officer is the development of the annual budget and the calculation of the "precept" required to raise money from local Council Tax payers in order to balance the budget.

More information ......

There are many web sites expanding upon the structure, role and duties of Parish Councils and Councillors. You can download the “Good Councillor Guide” and the “Good Governance Parish and Town Council Toolkit” from the National Association of Local Council's website by clicking here.

Income and Expenditure

The Council sets a budget each January from which it is able to quantify the funds required from parishioners in the form of a village tax. This "precept" is collected by Wiltshire Council through the council tax.  Details of what is being spent against the budget are routinely examined by the Parish Council.